4/30 Padres 13, Cubs 7
It’s been a tough month for Edwin Jackson. Nick Hundley smacked a three-run home run, Yonder Alonso belted a two-run shot, and Carlos Quentin drove in three runs to lift the Padres to a 13-7 victory Tuesday night over Jackson and the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The crowd of 31,303 at Wrigley Field wasn’t happy with Jackson’s abbreviated outing and let him know.
“It’s not the first time I’ve heard it,” Jackson said. “It’s the same crowd that if you go out and start pitching better, they’re cheering. The boos — I’d probably boo myself as well. I don’t blame them.”
Starting pitching has been the constant in the first month for the Cubs. They entered Monday’s game with a 3.21 ERA and 15 quality starts. However, Jackson has struggled with one bad inning in each of his starts. This time, he couldn’t locate his fastball.
“He didn’t make a lot of quality pitches when he had to,” Dale Sveum said of Jackson. “We have to keep plugging away with him and get this straightened out. It’s just a month into the season. Mechanical or whatever it is, we’re letting games slide by with one inning or one pitch here or there. He’s got it in him — the stuff and everything is there. We just have to get it out of him.”
Jackson can’t wait to turn the calendar.
“Overall, it’s been a pretty disappointing month from my standpoint for myself, for the team, for the organization and for the fans,” Jackson said. “It’s a test of character. It’s one of those times when you can either crumble and fold or fight and bounce back. I definitely haven’t been one to be known to fold. It’s just a matter of getting back on track and throwing the ball like I know how to throw the ball.”
How bad is it?
“This may be one of the worst starts I’ve had in my career,” Jackson said of his first season with the Cubs. “It’s a test of character. Clearly, it hasn’t been what I wanted to do. It’s a long season. I’ll definitely continue to work and get back to where I need to be to finish the season strong.”
Luis Valbuena and Starlin Castro each hit two-run home runs, David DeJesus added a solo shot — after replay — and Cody Ransom homered for the Cubs, who finished April with 35 home runs, the third-most in the first month of the season in the history of the franchise.
Jackson lasted 4 2/3 innings, his shortest outing in six starts. He served up 11 hits, the most off him since Aug. 3, 2011, when he gave up 14 to the Brewers over seven innings. The right-hander, who signed a four-year, $52 million contract with the Cubs this offseason, now has a 6.27 ERA.
“It’s just a matter of getting back to me,” Jackson said. “I have to get back to throwing the ball like I throw the ball and let everything else go out the window, whether it’s one thing or another. It’s just one of those things you have to get out there and do it. I haven’t lost any confidence, I don’t doubt myself. I’m just not getting it done. I just have to go out and get it done.”
He said the contract, his first long-term deal, isn’t the problem.
“I don’t feel like it’s pressure,” Jackson said. “I feel like I’m just not pitching like I know I can pitch, whether it’s execution of pitches, or making people hit the ball where there are fielders. It’s been one thing or another. It hasn’t been one particular thing.”
— Carrie Muskat